Friday, April 30, 2010

Chickens Ameraucana, Easter Eggers and Black Sex Link

Flash is my Blue Red Ameraucana rooster. He is a year old and very colorful. I have 4 chicks a month old from him. Of course the blue one didn't live a day but the other four a growing well Too early to tell the gender. Flash is from a blue egg and I only incubated blue eggs.
Five of my eight hens, having breakfast. Layer pellets and cooked rice. They lay 5-8 egg a day so I can't complain. Days of 8 eggs I get, 5 blue, one drab green, one cream and one brown egg.
I made an outside open that I can feed them in and the sheep can;t get to their feed.  They have free reign of the barn and pasture. Their coop has been taken over by my EE pullets.

My 8 three month old Easter Egg pullets, Very large for their age. All are bearded- a little heavy on brown-n-black color and one pure white. They will probably lay blue green eggs. I bought them as straight run 25 chicks, after the roosters were gone I had 8 pullets But I cant complain I bought a January special 25 chicks for $42 chix and shipping. They arrives on Jan 22nd a warm day..and stay healthy and grew well.  They should be laying by late June.

When I have hens/pullets for sale I get swamped with calls- long after they are sold. So I did a bit of speculating and purchased 25day old black sex link pullets. They are now a month old and doing well.  They will be available late July as pullets ready to lay.

Today my Shetland ewe Lily came into the barn for grain without her lambs. Ate and left the barn. I was concerned as morning and evening I check that everyone is counted for. So I did a pasture walk...pasture has lots of blind spots-- hills, rises, a few big rocks, trees. I found Lily with her twins, they were nursing, I guess Lily has started to hide her lambs like a deer. My Shetlands also graze during the night and in the rain. Very different in a good way from other breeds. The others would bed down at dark and just be getting up at 7 AM.  I am learning. I guess it will take a small pen after weaning to tame down the ewe lambs.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Updated Pics of Ewe lambs--Both of them!

Tulla is 11 days old and is already turning gray. It would be nice if she kept her dark brown legs. 
 Ivy day 2.  Her color and my picture taking is better today. Nice the white mixed in here and there.
Ivy's left side. Notice the brown spot on her front elbow. It will be fun to see what color she ends up. My first Shetland lambs. I have read other Blogs that she will or can keep changing color for a few years.

Till later


Monday, April 26, 2010

Afternoon Baby Check

Now that Ivy is all clean and completely dry, she has drizzles of white across her back. She is more beige pink Michelle, I agree its the modifier phaeomelanin. She is very cute. Her brother Ivan..nosed the grain pan this morning before I took pictures.......his sugar lips was grain dust. This afternoon his lips are true black, so he should be solid black. Both lambs have fleece that has more length than the other lambs and is really crimped.......Ivan has horn buttons showing...about the size of dimes and erupting....big horns coming.

So four lambs from Terri's  ram Baah, Tulla is moorit with the gray gene, Tundra is white with brown spots,  Ivy has phaeomelanin gene and Ivan is solid black. I got a lot of modifiers and colors from my first 4 Shetland lambs.........that just heightens my excitement.  Years back in my commercial flock I  had Finn/Dorset, Dorset, Montadale, Romanov, Romanov/Dorset, Corriedale, NC Cheviot/Finn ewes, oh even a loud Sufflock ewe (she didn't stay long as she was loud and liked to climb --yes climb-- the fence). Hand down the Shetland wins! I am a staunch believer in the breed. They eat very little, are so tame and amiable, the cutest lambs and are trouble free hustlers. To me its the only breed to have!

Till later

Babies! Lily had twins

The neighbors heard coyotes the other night, so I put the flock in the barnyard with some good hay. The pasture isn't ready anyway, and this early the grass is mostly water.  The second reason for the barnyard was Lily's ligaments had dropped last night so I knew she was close.
Lily must have lambed very early morning as the lambs were still damp. Both are good sized and have this is much easier than boer goats or commercial sheep. My ewes lamb, no big deal and get right to giving their lambs good attention and mothering, but hey you already know that!
I put them in a big maternity pen. I scooped up the lambs, checked what I got and put them in. Lily was fussing at the side of the pen, I grabbed her and shoved her in. I gave her some grain to calm her down. Lily is a protective mom, a double stomper----- so pictures were a bit of a trick. Ivan is solid black-black but he has sugar lips. Ivy is a light fawn color. Readers--- help me figure out her pattern- 4 white legs and tummy, head is mostly white and white on top of her head.  Terri's white ram "Baah" has some modifiers and color hidden under his white, as I sure got some colorful lambs.
So my flock has grown--and I was going to keep it small. Both ewe lambs are gorgeous and have to stay, as do ewes Lily, Bella and Maybeline. And more Shetland ewes arrive in barn runneth over!
Till later


Sunday, April 25, 2010


Bleeding Heart
Rain!  We are getting much needed rain. The pasture, lawn and flowers are really growing.
We had rain all day yesterday and overnight. Spring is in full swing. Our growing area is a "4"
so I have to stay with traditional perennials and flowering bushes.  One year we had fabulous new
white rose trees. I removed the dying blooms and both bloomed all summer........but they did not survive the winter.  Flowers that grow wonderfully in Rochester...where we lived for not survive I do my best to have a variety of color given my perimeters.

Lily is still holding out.....soon she will be a full heat period after Bella. Next fall it will be nice to have breeding dates for the ewes.

The flock is on hay, grain and walks the pasture. One thing we noticed, they will go out and graze in the rain and at night. Our commercial flock would bed down for the night, and they seldom grazed in the rain.
Ah the strength of the Shetland

Till I have more news


Friday, April 23, 2010

A New member of my flock

Introducing Einstein. I had made arrangements for a ram lamb, then this ram became available. I was impressed by his conformation. Einstein has a wide stance, strength, length and of good size.
Yes he is horned but his horns are well formed and away from his face. He is a bit shy but not wild. He is mild mannered, he is with the ewes with lambs -- I only have the 4 ewes- and he doesn't bother them. I watched him closely the week old twins come scurrying past and he just stands there. Color? My good friend Gail did further research,  Einsten is Light Grey Yuglet, born 4-07 a triplet,  bred by Bluff Country.   Handsome Einstein has the agouti gray and will be a colorful lamb crop next year.

Lily still hasn't lambed but her udder is quite full.........the more affectionate she becomes the closer I watch her.......she shouldn't be too far behind Bella

Tulla's fleece has already started to turn color from the agouti gene. Her brown looks very dusty
and so early  She may end up with oatmeal colored fleece.

My barn yard as no shade other than in the barn, so I turned the flock out onto the pasture. I think the 5 acres will stay ahead of them. They are getting a bit of grain and their hay. The pasture offers shade and a chance to catch a breeze if they like.

Till later


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Just bits this week

My solid moorit ewe Lily's udder is even fuller and teats are full....yet no lambs. Four days ago, she became very affectionate and I thought OK  soon.....still waiting. I am hoping for at least one ewe lamb from her, so this fall Tulla will have a pen mate. If not I have to buy a 2nd ewe lamb so Tulla is not alone. They can spend the winter growing and not be bred until their second fall.

I love my Shetlands, so much so that any crossbreds I had have been sold. I will have a grade yet pure Shetland flock. Good friend Gail says she will have a nice selection of Shetland ram I am splitting the flock between Tundra and another the whole flock is not all bred to the same ram.

Oh Tundra, he has coal black eye lids and nose, a creamy white fleece, his brown spots and the skin of his underbelly by his back legs is a modifier is at work?.......any opinions are welcome 

Yesterday I walked my pasture. Its green but needs to grow some more. I know we got 2 1/2 inches of rain, but we could use another couple of inches. We are on sandy soil, neighbors joke there is mo loam to it. The native grass and a bit of grain keep the ewes happy all summer. Yes I feed a bit of grain each day so they all come up for a good look over. Toward fall the hay feeding starts perhaps a bit soon, but I expect twins and ewes that have a bit of reserve on their backs to milk well.

I water my garden all summer so it stays green and blooming.  Last year we mowed lawn only four times. From mid July on the grass went dormant.......and we didn't mow again. And we keep it neat.....still just stayed short.

My chickens continue to lay extremely well.......8 hens and I am getting 6-8 eggs a day on very little bag feed. They love their morning cooked rice (at 20 # bag at $5 lasts 3 months) and table the afternoon they get a small soup can of scratch grain and layer range hens is the way to go.......I count my hens each day.....I hope and pray no predators come for a fresh meal.  My 3 month old Easter Eggers are large for their age, mostly dark red with lots of black, they get layer pellets, some chick feed, scratch grain and morning rice. They love the rice they all stand on their pen door waiting for me to give them the rice. I have to walk through the 3 month olds to get to my second brooder pen...I scoot the 3 months olds away from pen #2's door, so they get handled every day so they are pretty tame.

This morning Bella, Tundra and Tulla got released from the maternity pen to join the flock. They have bonded well and they can't spend their whole summer in a pen in the barn.  I noticed that Lily and Bella nosed each other and rubbed necks as to say hello (they recently came from Teri's  flock)
Next time hopefully new lamb pics
Till later


Friday, April 16, 2010

What is that? Dirt................No..... let me look closer.........

When Tundra was born I thought, oh he has some dirt on his knee....being born outside,just licked off and a bit damp. Well today I was showing off the twins.....I picked up Tundra --much to ma Bella's dismay, he has spots on each ear, a big spot on the side of his knee, down on his foot and a spot on his tail!!  His fleece is extra fine and has a bit longer fleece with super crimp.  The ram search may be over, whites are said to have softer fleece and he has SPOTS! I will see how he grows. So Gail you are right his sister carries the spot gene. So his full name is Dakota Tundra (for the ND dirt that blows in winter, dirting the snow)

A buyer just left I sold the last of my crossbred sheep. I have 4 Shetland ewes, Shadow with Shade, Bella with Tulla/Tundra. Lily due real soon and Maybeline due in a month. My 4 ewes with lambs will wander my big pasture till mid July when the other 8 Shetland ewes come home.

I love our normal and early Spring........we have been having winter till end of April....first days of May
so this is great weather. With the 2 1/2 inch rain you can watch the garden grow...foot tall lilies and the trees are opening their leaves,,,,and  I just had my first wood tick! so they are out early too.

Till later


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Introducing Tulla and Tundra

This morning the ewes were making more noise than usual. I didn't hear any baby cries. I fed the ewes grain. Where's Bella? I went out the barn door and there in a corner of the pasture stood Bella with a look and a shrug "what's the big deal?"  There were the cutest--yes I am biased set of lambs I ever saw..remember I have been waiting for more lambs. A ewe lamb "Tulla" a mioget smirslet krunnet  Good friend Gail says Tulla is musket and is most likely AgAaBbBbSsSsM?M?   citing her sugar lips and light arm pits   A musket ewe is just great with me and a white ram "Tundra"  Mom Bella had them licked clean and they were standing. I moved them into a maternity pen.....Bella is tame and trusts me but was protective of her lambs. So I decided to let them settle in, so Bella could relax her watch, Tulla was nursing and Tundra looks like he has had his fill.  Both lambs have great crimp. You guessed it Tulla with her markings and the first ewe lamb born, she will stay and be added to the herd.
Well its 2 ewes with lambs and 2 more to go.........Lily will be soon  Maybeline another looong month yet.

Till later


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A beautiful Afternoon.....72, sun and a nice breeze

I am still doing baby watch This is Maybeline a 5 yr old due mid May........she is getting huge. She is the one that started the Shetland fever. I won her over with treats, now she comes up for a chin scratch. Lily and Bella have full udders  just holding out....... Shadow is a great mom to Shade.
Shade is three weeks old today, he is a good sized already, being a single he gets all the milk he needs. He gets right in there and eats pellets with the ewes. He is turning Agouti gray....just image a gray/"blue" fleece, white legs  and bandit eyes. His fleece is very crimped....tight little curls right now. He could be a good ram for more crimp in the next generation........maybe my Shetland ram is right there in the barn. Shade likes to have is back scratched...yes don't make a pet of your ram I know, but he is my only lamb right now!

There is 4 acres of green grass and all 8 hens decided that on this little circle of grass they will all stand and peck, its on the best!
Fancy Pants Flash showing the hens what he found.

Another quiet day


Ode to the Shetland

This morning I went out to do chores. I watched my Shetland ewes eating. I like my short stout Shetlands, they eat very little, lamb easy and raise their lambs well. Beautiful fleeces, easy to handle, calm and docile. I have what I have wanted since I saw my first Shetland 25 yrs ago. Back then no one had them,,,a few flocks on the West or East coast. So I farmed and milked Jerseys. Sold the herd, the farm and worked 5 yrs at the West Central Experiment Station in dairy research.Then back to college....I digress...I have want I have always wanted a nice flock of  Shetland ewes. So why mess with that?  
I had thought I needed to cross them with a bigger breed, BFL, Border Leceister, Clun Forest, NC Cheviot
to name a few.  So I have been struggling what to cross on them and I have come to the conclusion  don't cross them  Stay with a good thing and get a nice Shetland ram. I will have 12 Shetland ewes in need of a good ram.
We got 2 inches of rain on Monday night, and some rain early this morning. Its greening up nicely...
pasture soon
Till Later

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lamb watch continues In other news....

My garden is coming up with Iris, day lilies, sedum, primrose, peonies, Queen Anne's Lace to name a few. I have been watering so it gets a good start. (can't get the italic to stop....) The first to bloom" so my forsythia bushDelicate flowers, really two petals that a strong wind can destroy, so I enjoy it while it lasts. The rest of the summer its just another bush....nothing eye catching. 
This year I am adding a few more fancy day lilies, double ruffled in colors of strawberry cream and such.  My perennial flower garden and flowering bushes used to run the length of the house 64 ft and 30 ft down the walk--it was beautiful, I am the type to have a clean flower got to be too much. I was over doing it and not enjoying it.  So Fall 2008 I had a plant give a way, you dig it you can have it. I predug and moved my day lilies and a few bushes up to the save zone. Now the sidewalk is in an arc of grass and the flower bed is 1/5 its original size, but its clean! So the bed is getting better each year as the moved bushes and flowers settle in and take off.  Hence why I need to fill in the holes with more day lilies. 
We haven't have a rain in 3 weeks....we could use one.....our oak trees are still in bud stage, pasture grass is standing still,  I have a theory  In the real heat of summer a tree's leaves curl up to conserve moisture..well along that premise, if no rain falls to moisten the tree takes longer for the trees to leaf out..just a theory--no date to support it  just my way of thinking. So when I water my young apple trees and bushes I spray water on the branches too.....I don't know.....
So here is wishing your ewes are not holding out on you........and you are getting rain

Till later


Friday, April 9, 2010

Researched "English Blue" of the BFL

I found a good explanation of English blue in an article on Gotland sheep, English blue is co-dominate with katmoget, gulmoget, and gray agouti gene. The parents each contribute a gene for color and a gene for pattern so the possibilities are endless.
My neighbor starts lambing in May.......if there is a promising polled Icelandic ram lamb will get him .I will find a stocky well built ram and then look at the color. Every color and pattern will be available, as she has 50 ewes lambing  bred to White, Black and a Spotted ram, Alot of the ewes having the agouti gene so have "pastel" coloring

Til later

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hens are out-n-about!

You might ask what a bowl of rice, a can of dog food and a bowl of eggs have in common?
I read an article last winter, how to get your hens to lay like its summer. Our standard chicken
laying mashes are all plant protein based. A chicken needs some animal protein in its diet.
I bought several cans of dog food at an outlet store...28 cents a can. Since January, my Easter Egg hens
have gotten their laying mash at 24 cent a pound! cooked rice in the AM for something warm
and a 1/3 of a can of dog food.....hens started laying quite respectable for nearly year old hens.
Three days ago, I opened the chicken coop, put up part of a cattle panel so sheep and lamb
couldn't get in but the hens can come and go.  I thought yep now I will start hunting for eggs.
The hens have continued to lay in their nests.  With the rice, dog food, some scratch corn thrown
outside.....and whatever goodies they scratch up,,,,eating very little laying mash
,,,today I got 7 large eggs from 8 8 cents of dog food, 5 cents for rice, 10 cent for a bit of corn...
23 cents for 7 eggs.......pretty good indeed

I have 8  almost 3 month old Easter Egg end of June they should be laying too...
"they" say to wait to introduce pullets to the adult flock until the pullets have stopped peeping
They can stay in their generous pen till they start to lay.....then I will sneak them in.

Till Later

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New sheep came home!

Yesterday, we traveled to North Branch, 2 1/2 hours east of us to the farm of Terri Drimel. Terri had 2 ewes for sale We arrived and saw some very nice sheep Terri's ram Dougal, her Cheviot ewes, and her yearling very pregnant Finn ewes. Her Finn ewes were of great size and style...very nice.  Her Shetland ewes has great size and very good quality.
I saw a really nice Shetland ewe as she walked across the lot.. She has a presence and a confidence about her. I pointed "who is that ewe"  Terri "That's Lily" I was impressed with Lily's large size. She is long, wide deep stout. A moorit  3 yr old with many years ahead of her. A ewe that is a bit wary....but with treats I will tame her. This morning she was very tame at grain feeding time  Udder filling and very pregnant. Due in 2 weeks to a white Shetland ram. I liked her size and good frame, she just had to come home.   Shorn and in full fleece. last year after shearing Lily went through a rise so her rump fleece is thick.

The ewe I traveled for is Belle.Belle was tied in the corral, patiently waiting her fate.  A HST marked (she has 4 white socks and a white tail tip). Again Belle has a great size to her, she is a large, deep wide stout 3 yrs old. Tame, good confrontation. Look at her well muscled rear leg, good thick bone and wide stance!  I really like her. Belle is due in 2 weeks to a white Shetland ram.
Shown in full fleece and shorn

I am excited some more lambs coming. Right now the only lamb is Shade. I am hoping for a couple of ewe lambs from Lily and Belle. My other Shet ewe Maybeline is getting a very big tummy. She isn't due till May 16th to a Border Leicester/Icelandic ram. And then there is yearling Cher  just starting to make an udder...or at least I thnk so. Cher must have been open when she arrived, so she too is bred to the BL/Ice ram

So my flock has grown a bit. In  July the rest of the ewes are coming home, 6 Shetland ewes from Garrett and BlueBell and Palisade from Gail. A good starter flock indeed.

Till later